Bank of Hawai‘i Corp. (NYSE: BOH) announced that its board of directors has elected Suzanne P. Vares-Lum to serve on its board of directors, effective May 26, 2023, until the annual election of directors at the bank’s next annual shareholders meeting. With the addition of Vares-Lum, Bank of Hawai‘i Corporation’s board of directors increases from 14 to 15. Vares-Lum serves on Bank of Hawai‘i’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Fiduciary and Investment Management Committee.
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Suzanne P. Vares-Lum (Photo: Business Wire)
“I'm so pleased to welcome Suzanne Vares-Lum to our board of directors,” said Chairman, President and CEO Peter S. Ho. “She brings a profound passion and unparalleled expertise to our already diverse board, who are dedicated to our company’s mission, vision and values. Her exceptional leadership, strategic thinking, and commitment to community will undoubtedly help guide our organization toward continued success.”
In January 2022, Vares-Lum took office as president of the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, as the first woman and Native Hawaiian to lead the center. In her role, she advances the center’s mission to promote understanding and relationships among people and nations of the United States, Asia, and Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue.
A retired Major General, Vares-Lum served for 34 years. As the first Native Hawaiian woman to become an Army general, she held key roles addressing priority national security challenges in the region. She brings decades of executive leadership and planning experience, culminating in over five years at US Indo-Pacific Command, where she advised the most senior officials and cultivated key relationships with nations throughout the region.
Prior to the East-West Center, she founded Vares-Lum Indo-Pacific Consulting, LLC, through which she provided consulting services on regional issues, such as education, through collaborative efforts and initiatives across the Indo-Pacific.
Vares-Lum has strong ties to the community and gives back by serving on a variety of boards, including the American Red Cross-Pacific Islands Region, Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, and the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research. She is a current member of the U.S.-Japan Council and has also served on committees that promote Hawaiʻi’s economic diversification, workforce development, and community dialogues on issues regarding land and water.
In 2019, she became a National Security Fellow of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She is an alumna of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. Vares-Lum is also the recipient of the 2023 Girl Scouts of Hawai‘i Women of Distinction Award and a 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Awardee.
Vares-Lum earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master of education in teaching from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. As a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, she also earned a master of strategic studies degree.